UNIC, the International Union of Cinemas representing key European cinema operators and their national associations across 38 territories, has published its 2019 Annual Report detailing the big screen trends in Europe. Cinemas across UNIC territories welcomed over 1.25 billion admissions in 2018, equating to € 8.1 billion at the box office.

European cinema-going in 2018

Almost 1.3 billion cinema tickets were sold across UNIC territories in 2018, with more than 950 million admissions in EU Member States alone. European cinema operators experienced another strong year with € 8.1 billion at the box office, despite an overall drop of 3.4% in admissions. Box office was mainly driven by international titles: Avengers: Infinity War, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Incredibles 2, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation. That said, a wide range of European productions enjoyed great results.

Across specific UNIC territories

UK exhibitors enjoyed a record-breaking year with over 177 million admissions. While France experienced a 4.% fall in attendance, French exhibitors still attracted over 200 million cinema-goers. Russia, after outperforming France in 2017 as the leading European territory in terms of cinema admissions, experienced its second-best year ever with 200.5 million tickets sold, despite a 5.5% decrease in admissions. Spain welcomed 97.7 million admissions, despite a 2% drop in box office and a 2% drop in admissions. Decreases were also witnessed in Germany with -14.8% in box office, -13.9% in admissions and 105.4 million tickets sold. Finally, Italy experienced a 5% fall in box office and a 6.9% fall in admissions with 85.9 million tickets sold in 2018.

Annual visits to the cinemas

Admissions per capita for UNIC territories remained stable at 1.5 visits per year. France and Ireland, at 3.1 and 3.3 respectively, again experienced the highest rates of cinema-going in Europe.

European and local productions

The market share of European films increased in 2018 reaching 29.4% (European Audiovisual Observatory), highlighting the importance of local content. Turkey experienced a record 62.9% rate, followed by France with 39.5%. Italy saw a lower share for national films of 23%.

Growing screen count

The total number of cinema screens across UNIC territories continued to increase in 2018, with 42,000 screens. EU Member States averaged 55 screens per million inhabitants. Ireland with 108, France with 91 and Norway with 89 have the highest screen density in Europe.

A promising 2019

The industry looks forward to a promising release schedule in 2019 with highly anticipated European as well as international titles. In the first half of the year the record-breaking Avengers: Endgame took only 11 days to reach $ 2 billion at the global box office. And releases such as The Lion King and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are certain to attract millions of film fans of all ages.

If you are interested in the topic you can read the whole 2019 Annual Report.